The Indian made Tejas fighter jet is all set for its international airshow debut these days during the Bahrain International Airshow starting Thursday 21 January. The type is engaged in a fierce battle with the Pakistan-made JF-17 Thunder, albeit a virtual one thanks to the virtues of social media. Both sides have battling it out for weeks already.
Two Tejas jets arrived at Bahrain’s Sakhir airbase on 14 January and started orientation flights. The Tejas – powered by a GE F404-IN20 turbofan – was designed and produced by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) but even after decades of development and testing fails to meet Indian Air Force expectations. An improved ‘Mark 2’ version – featuring the more powerful F414 engine – will probably never see the light of day.
It’s appearance in Bahrain most likely is the result of Pakistan’s recent success in selling it’s JF-17 Thunder abroad. Nigeria is expecting three to be delivered this year and Myanmar is also a rumoured customer. No JF-17 is scheduled to appear in Bahrain, however. Powering the Thunder is the Russian designed Klimov RD-93 engine.
More recently, a Pakistani campaign to sell JF-17 Thunders to Sri Lanka – that other neighbour to India – infuriated New Delhi. After days of confusing news, Indian media proudly reported New Delhi has prevented the deal from happening and also stated the Tejas was now on offer to Sri Lanka.
It is safe to say Sri Lanka would prefer the JF-17 Thunder, a joint undertaking by Pakistan and China that has resulted in a reasonably advanced, capable and affordable alternative to expensive Western and Russian fighter aircraft. It could very likely sell to other customers as well.
Any foreign sale of Tejas jets however is as unlikely as…. well, India buying the JF-17. The program is too troubled for any foreign nation to be interested in. Displaying the aircraft in Bahrain is a matter of politics and prestige, not economics.
© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured Image: The Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (Image © Hindustan Aeronautics Limited)
China has become the first foreign country to buy Russia’s Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker E, the most advanced version of the Flanker to date. Negotiations on the deal were ongoing for several years before a deal for 24 aircraft was finally signed recently. The contract is worth over 2 billion USD.
China’s weapons arsenal
The move is good news for financially strained Moscow and undesirable for Washington, which saw relations with Peking worsen recently. The Su-35s form a lethal addition to China’s already considerable weapons arsenal. The deal is one of the largest to be closed between Russia and China.
For a long time, Indonesia seemed the first likely export customer for the Su-35. An Indonesian deal doesn’t seem far away, though.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: The Sukhoi Su-35S, Flanker-E according to NATO (Image © Sukhoi Company)
China Aviation Supplies Holding Company has signed a General Terms Agreement (GTA) with Airbus for the acquisition of 30 A330 Family aircraft and 100 A320 Family aircraft. The 30 A330s are the firm up of the commitment signed in June 2015. The GTA was signed in Beijing by Li Hai, President and CEO of CAS, and Fabrice Brégier, President and CEO of Airbus, in the presence of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“We are grateful to CAS, one of our longest standing customers, for its continued confidence in Airbus and in the versatile A330 Family as well as the best-selling A320 Family,” said Fabrice Bregier, President and CEO of Airbus. “
With these 30 A330 options now firmed up, CAS’ total number of orders for the popular Airbus widebody is this year 75 aircraft. This strong demand in China for the A330 has been the key driver behind setting up production in China. The first agreements were signed by Airbus and Chinese partners in March 2014 and witnessed by French President Francois Hollande and visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping. A framework agreement was signed in July 2015 in Toulouse.
According to the Airbus global market forecast, China is leading the world in passenger growth. China’s domestic air traffic will become the world’s largest within the next 10 years, and traffic volumes will quadruple in the next 20 years. In the next 20 years, Airbus forecasts a demand in China for some 5,400 new passenger and freighter aircraft including 1,700 widebody aircraft like the A330, A350 and A380.
At present, the in-service Airbus fleet with Chinese operators comprises over 1,200 aircraft (over 1,000 A320 Family aircraft, over 160 A330 Family aircraft and five A380s as well as Airbus freighters and corporate jets).
Pilot training in the Shandong province in China will get a boost with new wings being ordered with the Cessna Aircraft Company. Following an initial order in April for two Cessna 127 Skyhawks, Shandong Hairuo General Aviation has placed a follow-on deal for another six aircraft of the type on 24 July 2015.
Shandong Hairuo General Aviation is based in Binzhou city in the Shandong province. The company is an authorized sales representative and an authorized customer service facility for Cessna single-engine aircraft in China. It currently operates a fleet of four Skyhawks and is looking to provide training for personal, commercial and airline pilot licenses with the additional eight 172s coming in.
The Skyhawk is one of the most popular aircraft in the world, with 48,000 in service since 1955.
Source: Cessna Aircraft Company
Featured image: A Cessna 172 Skyhawk in flight (Image © Cessna Aircraft Company)
China Aviation Supplies Holding Company (CAS) and Airbus have signed an agreement for 45 A330 family aircraft and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for options for 30 A330s . Both agreements were signed in Paris on Monday.
According to Airbus’ market forecast, China will become the leading country for passenger air traffic, for both domestic and international markets, as passenger traffic in the country grows well above the world average. Domestic air traffic in China will become the world’s number one within 10 years. In the 20 year period between 2014 to 2033 Airbus forecasts a demand in China for more than 5,300 new commercial passenger aircraft sized over 100 seats plus freighters.
At present, the in-service Airbus fleet with Chinese operators comprises over 1,150 aircraft (over 980 A320 Family aircraft, over 150 A330 Family aircraft and five A380s).
Chinese company CAS specializes in aircraft procurement and support services on aviation supplies. Since 2002, CAS has signed 22 package-purchase contracts for a total of more than 1500 aircraft from major aircraft manufacturers like Airbus and Boeing.
Featured image (top): The Airbus A330 in its original Airbus colours. (Image © Airbus)